Nursing care costs for the elderly and infirm in Scotland rose to £358m last year – a leap of more than 11%.
Within this figure, the total bill faced by those able to afford their own care in a residential home passed the £100m mark for the first time, Scottish government statistics show.
For people entitled to free personal care at home, the cost incurred to central government jumped to £257m – almost double the bill when the policy was first introduced in 2002.
The cost has been exacerbated by an increase in both the numbers of people staying at home to receive support and the increasing complexity of their care needs.
Government officials say councils are now spending more on the provision of free nursing care than ever before, climbing 4% between 2007 and 2008 to £101m.
The current policy, introduced to replace a system in which nursing care was officially free but subject to council charges, was implemented to standardise care across Scotland.
Despite the gloomy figures, public health minister Shona Robison (pictured) said: "We are absolutely committed to maintaining that progress and laying the foundations for Scotland's older people to receive the support they need, not only now but in the years to come.
"We are working with councils and health boards to agree what needs to be done to shape the future of health and social care over the next 20 years."
The figures come in the wake of last week's Queen's Speech, which set out plans for free personal care in England.